8 are inductees in civic hall of fame

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 21

City leaders honored their predecessors yesterday, announcing the first eight inductees into the Toledo Civic Hall of Fame.

They range from giants of industry to patrons of the arts, from a newspaper publisher to a ground breaking minority activist.

“We are honoring our past so we can do even better in the future,” Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said.

The eight will be formally inducted into the nascent hall Jan. 21 at a meeting of the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce.

To be inducted are:

* John D. Anderson (1922-1986), who led Maumee-based The Andersons in some of its most prosperous years.

At various times, Mr. Anderson served as president of the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce, the board of the Toledo YMCA, the United Way, the Toledo Rotary Club, and the Toledo Board of Trade. He served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the University of Toledo and was chairman of the board of the former Mary Manse College.

Mr. Anderson’s brother, Bob Anderson, was one of the nine area citizens the mayor appointed to select the inductees. He said that while he did not vote on his brother’s case, “I loved him dearly. He was an inspiration.”

* Paul Block, Jr. (1911-1987), the longtime Blade publisher who was one of Toledo’s most powerful and controversial figures for almost half a century.

From the editorial page of The Blade, Mr. Block was a constant advocate for changes and reforms he believed would help the city.

In a speech to the Kiwanis Club in 1979, Mr. Block said, “I spend my career saying no when others said yes, and yes when others said no.”

Among his most impassioned causes: the creation of the Medical College of Ohio, the formation of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, revitalization of the downtown, and the creation of a strong-mayor form of government.

Mr. Block helped create results in each of those areas. The Ohio General Assembly created MCO in 1964, and Mr. Block served as the first chairman of its board of trustees. When the port authority was created in 1955, he was the chairman of its board.

He headed the Toledo Development Committee, helping bring landmarks such as Government Center to downtown. And in 1992, after his death, Toledo voters approved a strong-mayor form of government, replacing the city-manager form.

Mr. Block was an expert chemist, doing research on the thyroid gland. For years, he was the world’s only source for certain synthetic analogs of natural thyroid hormones.

* John Gunckel (1846-1915), the man responsible for the Newsboys tradition of philanthropy.

A ticket agent for the Lake Shore Railroad, Mr. Gunckel abhorred the wretched conditions in which Toledo’s newsboys lived. Too many smoked and swore and lived dirty, rude lives, he believed.

In 1892, he decided to do something about it. He formed the Toledo Newsboys’ Association as a self-governing group of newsboys who would be dedicated to clean, honest living.

Eventually, the idea spread and a National Newsboys’ Association was formed, with more than 10,000 members. He spent 22 years running the association and spreading his ideas of clean living and philanthropy to those in trouble.

The association eventually died away, but its work continued. The Boys Club of Toledo is the successor organization to the association, and the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association continues its charity work.

* Edward Drummond Libbey (1854-1925), who brought the glass industry to Toledo.

A New England native, Mr. Libbey decided to move his glass business from Massachusetts to Toledo in 1888, citing the area’s ample supply of natural gas and good sand.

The company he started, Libbey Glass Co., eventually would grow into an empire. It lives on in its modern-day successor companies, Owens-Illinois, Owens Corning, Libbey, Inc., and Libbey-Owens-Ford.

He made major contributions to the city as president of the local school board and the city’s plan commission.

His major outlet was the Toledo Museum of Art, which he headed from its founding in 1901 to his death. His wealth paid for most of the construction of the museum’s Monroe Street complex, and he left millions to the museum in his estate.

* Florence Scott Libbey (1863-1938), who also was a founding force behind the Toledo Museum of Art.

Edward Libbey’s wife, Mrs. Libbey had established herself as a art connoisseur before Mr. Libbey even moved to Toledo. She focused on Asian art and ceramics and shared her love of art with her husband after they married in 1890.

Mrs. Libbey had a fortune of her own, being the daughter of millionaire real-estate dealer Maurice Scott, and she directed her funds to the art museum. In 1912, she donated her entire art collection to the museum.

Mrs. Libbey was the granddaughter of inductee Jesup W. Scott.

* Henry L. Morse (1907-1982), a banker who devoted his nonwork hours to helping the community.

Mr. Morse retired as senior vice president, secretary, and director of the former Toledo Trust Co. in 1973 and devoted his time to more than 50 community organizations to which he belonged.

Among his many involvements: he was a board chairman of MCO, he helped found the Lucas County Recreation Center, and he was president of the Toledo Mud Hens.

* Jesup W. Scott (1799-1874), the Blade editor who founded what would be the University of Toledo.

A Connecticut native, Mr. Scott moved to Huron County in the 1820s to look after the businesses of his father-in-law. He soon moved to Perrysburg, then bought 70 acres in Vistula and Port Lawrence, the two villages that eventually would merge to form Toledo.

In 1830, he founded a newspaper, The Miami of Lake Erie, in Perrysburg. It was the first newspaper in the Maumee Valley. In 1844, he moved permanently to Toledo and became one of the early editors of The Blade.

In 1872, he made his most lasting gift, donating 160 acres to found “The Toledo University of Arts and Trades.” That institution eventually became Toledo University, then the University of Toledo.

* Ella Phillips Stewart (1891-1987), the nation’s first black female pharmacist and a tireless worker for the betterment of the lives of black families.

After starting her activism with local relief efforts during the Depression, she began working on a national scale. In 1948, she became national president of the National Association of Colored Women, a post she held four years. That position led to a series of “goodwill ambassador” roles with the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, and the Pan-Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association, of which she was the international vice president.

She traveled to more than two dozen countries doing her work.

One common bond between many of the inductees is that their names live on in Toledo today. The Libbey name is strong in many of the area’s companies, such as Libbey-Owens-Ford and Libbey, Inc. Scott High School, Scottwood Avenue, and UT’s Scott Park campus are all named for Jesup Scott.

The Andersons is still a vibrant company based in Maumee. Mrs. Stewart gave her name to Stewart Elementary School. And Gunckel Boulevard bears Mr. Gunckel’s name, as did the former Gunckel school.

Hall-of-fame officials are tracking down relatives of each of the inductees so that they can be presented a plaque at the Chamber of Commerce ceremony next month.

The inductees will be honored by a temporary display in the Main Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library until a home can be built in the Local History room on the third floor. That will be ready after library renovations are finished in the spring of 2001, library officials said.

Mr. Finkbeiner said he hopes the hall can raise enough money to eventually create busts or portraits of each inductee. For now, he said, plaques will have to do.